We’ve already had a week on the Southern Rhône. Seem to remember we did a week on Grenache from there. Grenache needs lots of hot sun to ripen properly, and that’s what you get down by the coast there. So what about Syrah a bit further north and inland?
Well the sun stays put. It gets really hot in the summers still, but because it’s a bit further away from the sea it gets colder in the winters. Grenache wouldn’t cope with it being that cold for that long in the year, luckily Syrah can, and the heat of the summer makes up for it.
Grapes can get sunburnt if they’re left in the hot sun all day. As a ginger man I can empathise! Growers have to be careful to leave the leaves to cover the worst exposed bunches.
All the way up the Northern bit of the Rhône there’s a pretty impressive mountain range. Grapes can be planted high up, or in shaded valleys. That helps to keep them from over heating too.
The biggest thing in the climate is the wind. It’s quite a famous current coming down from central France cooling everything down in its path, called the Mistral. It can get pretty gale force at times, hence why they plant a lot of grapes in sheltered valleys and that.
With all these ups and downs of climate you need hardy grapes that don’t mind a bit of sun, height, and wind. Syrah’s one of them.
Other Posts in NWTW Week 44: